Now that the 2010 Saab 9-5 has finally made production and being delivered to showrooms all across the country, attention turns to Saab’s other models, all of which are crucial to the long-term viability of the brand.

Coming up on the horizon is the new 9-4X crossover, which is already in production and due on the market towards the end of the year. However, both it and the 9-5 are essentially warmed over GM models; in this case a rebadged Cadillac SRX and Opel Insignia.

The next-generation 9-3, on the other hand, arguably Saab’s most important model, will be almost all Saab. Due in late 2012, the new 9-3 will ride on a heavily modified version of GM’s original Epsilon platform, not the newer Epsilon II as previously thought.

The architecture will belong to Saab and will be renamed the I-P platform, and it will only be used by the Swedish automaker so there will be no restraints on its design. It will spawn the regular 9-3 Sedan, as well as a new Cabriolet and sporty three-door Hatchback. A long-wheelbase 9-3 Sport Wagon will also be offered.

Styling will be similar to the new 2010 Saab 9-5 but the automaker’s recent appointment of former Bertone designer Jason Castriota should see much needed excitement injected into the car’s design.

It’s still too early to determine what powertrains will feature in the next Saab 9-3 but expect to see a series of turbocharged four-cylinder mills, both gasoline and turbodiesel, as well as a possible V-6 engine for a high-performance model. There’s even talk that Saab may borrow engines from BMW, namely its four-cylinder range currently used by MINI. Saab’s Haldex XWD all-wheel drive system will also be offered.

[Autocar]